2022 December 22
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) now an impressive morning object
This comet is on track to become a naked-eye object from dark sites at the end of January but it is already putting on a good show in the morning sky and it will make a good target for observation over the Christmas period. It is currently moving north in Corona Borealis (see the finder charts here) and it has recently grown a long and highly structured ion tail. The comet is currently best seen just before astronomical twilight in the morning as Corona rises in the north east. From dark sites the ion tail extends at least 2 degrees and recent images have shown a lot of detail.
Magnitude estimates submitted to COBS show that the comet is now around 9th magnitude and following the predicted lightcurve nicely. It may reach 5th magnitude in late January when it will be well placed for observation from the UK.
Please try to observe this comet while the Moon is out of the way over the next couple of weeks. It will make a good target for imaging but it should be a nice visual object as well. Submit images/drawings to the Comet Section archive (see instructions here) and your magnitude estimates to COBS. The Comet Section’s Observing Guide provides more detail on observational techniques.
Dan Bartlett’s image of C/2022 E3 taken from June Lake, California using a C11 RASA (0.28-m, f/2.2) and an ASI 2600MC. This is a stack of 168x30s taken on 2022 December 19 at 13:35 UTC. The field of view is around 1.4 x 2 degrees. The full-sized image is here.